The Indianapolis Colts have surprised many fans and media around the NFL by getting off to a 4-3 start this season.
After all, the Colts underwent a major roster shift during the offseason by releasing or not re-signing several notable veteran starters. Indianapolis is now one of the youngest, and least experienced, teams in the league.
But after Sunday’s 19-13 road win over Tennessee, the team’s second straight win, the Colts find themselves alone in second place in the AFC South.
Indianapolis has already doubled its win total from a year ago (2-14) and have moved from being 32nd in the weekly ESPN NFL power rankings to being the sixth-ranked team in the AFC.
Not too shabby. Most Colts players will say their record should be 5-2 after letting a late lead slip away in a 22-17 loss to Jacksonville at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sept. 23.
One thing is certain, though. Nobody — be it Indianapolis’ players or coaches — are getting too caught up in the team’s modest taste of success. Even if some of the national media are talking about a possible postseason run as a wild-card participant.
Another possible wild-card contender is this week’s opponent at Lucas Oil Stadium, Miami. The Dolphins are also 4-3 with a rookie quarterback (Ryan Tannehill), a first-year coach (Joe Philbin) and a rebuilt roster.
“I think you realize who cares if the playoffs started today. They don’t. It doesn’t matter what your record is now. It matters what it is after that last week,” rookie quarterback Andrew Luck said Wednesday.
“Realize [that] it’s a week-by-week thing. I realize that’s a very cliché thing. We are not looking ahead to anything. It’s the Dolphins. It’s great that people say nice things about us, great if people said bad things about us, whatever.
“It’s part of playing this game. We are just worried about trying to win football games.”
Luck says the focus this week is on the Dolphins and nothing else.
“Absolutely. This is the biggest game to date and that’s how we’ll approach it because it is. It truly is,” he said.
The quarterback’s concentration this week in practice, as well as Sunday during the game, will be on trying to figure out a Miami defense that has played well in recent weeks.
“Absolutely. I think how good the Dolphins are on third down, red zone, rushing the passer, blitzing, we’ve got to be on our stuff. Turnovers, no can do. Negative plays can’t happen,” Luck said. “We are going to have to be 100-percent focused and hopefully that’ll give us a chance to win.”
The Indianapolis Colts have surprised many fans and media around the NFL by getting off to a 4-3 start this season.
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Pacers sign three free agents
The Pacers couldn’t keep waiting around for Lance Stephenson to make up his mind. So on Friday, they went to work. The two-time Eastern Conference runner-ups announced they had signed three free agents — backup big man Lavoy Allen, swingman C.J. Miles and Damjan Rudez, a sharp-shooting forward from Europe.
Odum heads for Vegas with Kings summer team
Terre Haute native Jake Odum scored three points in the Indiana Pacers’ 84-74 victory on Thursday over the Miami Heat in the Orlando Summer League.
Odum has 5 points for Pacers in summer play
Former Indiana State standout Jake Odum contributed five points, three assists and a steal in 15 minutes on the court Wednesday for the Indiana Pacers summer league team.
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ISU's Odum talks about agreeing to play for Pacers' summer-league team
No team selected him in the two-round NBA draft Thursday night, but Terre Haute native and four-year Indiana State basketball standout Jake Odum agreed Friday to play for the Indiana Pacers’ summer-league squad next month.
LeBron James tells Heat he will become a free agent
LeBron James delivered his message loud and clear, without actually saying a word.
He’s willing to leave Miami, if that’s what it will take to win more championships. And what happens next will likely be up to not just the Heat, but Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as well.
Big man curse always affects NBA draft
Greg Oden has had years to think about the plight of his knees, and still has no good answers. The No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft is a poster child for big man bad luck, an epidemic that’s been sweeping the league for years. The latest victim seems to be Joel Embiid, a 7-footer expected to be the No. 1 pick in Thursday’s draft before a recently suffered stress fracture in his right foot almost certainly robbed the former Kansas star of that chance.
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Team’s all-time top tight end Clark to retire as Colt
Jeff Saturday did it last year, returning to the Indianapolis Colts after a brief stint as a center with the Green Bay Packers and officially ending his National Football League career with the team where he had his most success. Now it looks like Dallas Clark will be following in Saturday’s footsteps.
FROM TERRE HAUTE TO THE MAJORS: Catchers Phegley, Lucas putting together solid seasons
Two Vigo County catcher prospects are accumulating strong numbers as backstops in professional baseball.
Terre Haute North product Josh Phegley has three home runs in his past six games to put his power numbers close to on par with his career-best 2013 season, and West Vigo alum Jeremy Lucas took a six-game hitting streak into Friday night’s doubleheader for the Carolina Mudcats.
Reed signs with Astros
A.J. Reed’s Wednesday was already pretty good when he was named Baseball America’s College Player of the Year in the morning. In the afternoon, it got even better for the Terre Haute native. The Houston Astros, who drafted Reed with the first pick of the second round in last week’s Major League Baseball draft, announced that they had agreed to a deal with Reed. According to several sources, Reed signed his deal for $1.35 million.
Master of ovals, Ed Carpenter celebrates win at Texas
Car owner Ed Carpenter now drives his car only on ovals. He does it well.
Carpenter won the IndyCar Series race on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway, staying in front of Will Power during a two-lap shootout after a late caution.
A.J. Reed picked by Astros with first pick of second round
Terre Haute native A.J. Reed wasn’t expecting the Houston Astros to be the team that would select him in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft.
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Ex-Sycamore Lutz begins NFL journey with Colts
The end of the journey. Or, really, just the beginning. That's how former Indiana State center FN Lutz described his emotions after signing a free-agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday morning.
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Miami puts emphatic end to Eastern Conference Finals
The Heat became the third franchise in NBA history to reach the title series in four consecutive seasons, a laugher of a conference-title finale getting them there again Friday night. LeBron James and Chris Bosh each scored 25 points, and Miami eliminated the Pacers for the third straight year with a 117-92 romp in Game 6 of the East championship series.
George cries foul after Pacers fall 102-90 to Heat
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James helps Heat beat Pacers 87-83 in Game 2
LeBron James scored six straight points to spark the decisive 12-2 run and the Miami Heat beat the Indiana Pacers 87-83 on Tuesday night to leave the Eastern Conference finals tied at a game apiece.
James had 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter. Dwyane Wade had 23 points, 13 in the first half when the Heat desperately needed them to stay close.
Game 3 is Saturday in Miami.
Pence, Indianapolis mayor lament losing Super Bowl
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Mike Pence and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard are lamenting the city losing its bid to host the 2018 Super Bowl.
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No longer shooting like a brick ‘Wall’
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Pacers blown out by Wizards 102-79
Marcin Gortat had 31 points and 16 rebounds, John Wall added 27 points and the Washington Wizards rode a 39-rebound advantage to a 102-79 rout of Indiana on Tuesday night, cutting the Pacers’ lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals to 3-2.
Washington can even the series at home Thursday in Game 6.
It was a stunning turnaround for a team that had lost the last three. But with Gortat matching a career high in points and posting a playoff career high in rebounds, Washington held a 62-23 rebounding edge.
Confident Pacers look to finish off Wizards
Suddenly, Indiana has regained its swagger. Roy Hibbert is smiling and confident. Paul George is posting double-doubles and confounding Washington’s guards. The defense is contesting shots and forcing the Wizards into mistakes, and even when things don’t go right, the Pacers still find ways to win.
Redemption: Hibbert breaks out of funk, scores 28 as Pacers tie series at 1-1
Roy Hibbert broke out of his playoff funk with a season-best 28 points and nine rebounds, leading the Indiana Pacers to an 86-82 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night that tied the Eastern Conference semifinals at 1-1.
It was a stark contrast to Hibbert’s abysmal, scoreless showing in Monday night’s loss — and most of this year’s playoffs.
Pacers need Hibbert to make a difference in Game 2
Roy Hibbert’s disappearing act is wearing thin in Indianapolis.
Indiana Pacers fans are so angry, they want him benched or traded. Critics have made Hibbert the target of jokes. Teammates are desperately trying to coax their All-Star center out of his funk, and even ultra-positive coach Frank Vogel knows it’s time for Hibbert to start playing big.
The Pacers need it now, in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, more than ever.
Wizards triumph on road again
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FROM THE PRESS BOX: Relax, Pacers fans, but don't breathe easy yet
Breathe, Indiana Pacers fans. Just breathe.
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David West led Indiana on a 16-4 run to end the game, extending the season for the top-seeded Pacers with a 95-88 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night.
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